On Monday the Daily Fave introduced a special guest blogger: Jenny Feldon, winner of the "Meaning of Motherhood" essay contest. Read Jenny's winning essay, and stay tuned all week to find out how Jenny faces the crazy and wonderful world of Motherhood.
Today, read on to see how Jenny tackled flying with an almost-2-year-old child...
Three suitcases, two carry-ons, stroller, car seat, baby, dog. Everyone in the security line hates us. I silently apologize to all the hassled parents I ever rolled my eyes at back when I had no idea what kind of hell they were going through.
What happened to families with small children boarding airplanes first? At the gate, we're met with a sneer and told to wait until our row is called. Eva has done seventeen laps of the concourse, eaten two jelly doughnuts and almost interrupted a bomb check. I need to get on that plane before she starts destroying furniture or boards a flight to Dallas.
27 peaceful seconds pass before she rips at her car seat straps and yells "E OUT!" I've vowed to use the pacifier only for emergencies. Ok. People are staring. This seems like an emergency.
Eva knocks it out of my hand and screams "NO!" It flies through the air, hits a man shoving his bag into the overhead, and bounces into the aisle. Eva kicks her feet in delight. "Again! Again!"
My secret weapon has been rejected, walked on, and tainted with airplane germs. It's a six hour flight and we haven't even made it to take off.
I retrieve the pacifier and sit down, defeated. Jay distracts Eva with Cheerios. She eats three and pushes them away.
"You're done?" I'm skeptical.
"All done!" She dusts her hands together, international signal for "that's all, folks."
I put the Cheerios in my bag.
"You said you were all done."
I give them back to her. She eats one and throws the container onto the seat in front of her. The woman sitting there is underwhelmed. I make my best "Aren't kids just the silliest?" face and bat my eyelashes. Eva begins to kick the seat.
"No kicking, sweetie. Someone's sitting in that seat."
"E kicking seat!" She grins at me.
I try a coloring book. We color a third of Elmo's nose before she chucks the book onto Jay's lap, narrowly missing the dog's head. How did Jay end up with the easier child? All he has to do is pet Tucker once in a while and get him to drink some water. Unfair. I glare at Jay.
"You wanted children." He hands me the coloring book and strokes Tucker's fur.
I try animal crackers. I try stickers. I try string cheese. Every time Eva shrieks, another pair of eyes beams death rays at the back of my head. I feel like a failure. I want to sit back, read a magazine and let her scream. I want a Tylenol PM and a glass of champagne. I want to be off this plane. I want to never travel, ever again.
Eva is crying for real now, tears streaming down her cheeks. I don't know how either of us is going to survive. I sit her in my lap and bury my face in her hair, trying to take deep breaths. Meltdowns all around won't help anyone. And we might get kicked off the plane.
Eva looks up at me. "Capillar book? Mommy read you?"
"You want Mommy to read you the caterpillar book?"
Emphatic nodding. "YES! Capillar book!"
I take out the caterpillar book. I read it once. I read it a second time.
Halfway through reading #32, Eva's eyelids begin to droop. By reading #40, she's asleep in my arms. My foot is numb. I have to pee. But I don't dare move. I'm almost afraid to breathe. We just might make it through this flight, after all.
And we did. Now to overcome my post-traumatic stress before we have to fly again...
Jenny Feldon is a writer and a full time mom. She drinks too much coffee and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, her not-quite-two-year-old daughter, and their small white dog.